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Onward and Upward: Vanderbilt University Medical Center 1981-1997
by:Roscoe R. Robinson, MD
Roscoe "Ike" Robinson served as Vice Chancellor of Vanderbilt University s Medical Center from 1981 to 1997; his tenure was approximately three times longer than that of most medical center chiefs. When Robinson retired in 1997, Vanderbilt University Medical Center had become a billion-dollar enterprise, with the best overall patient care facility in the...
Roscoe "Ike" Robinson served as Vice Chancellor of Vanderbilt University s Medical Center from 1981 to 1997; his tenure was approximately three times longer than that of most medical center chiefs. When Robinson retired in 1997, Vanderbilt University Medical Center had become a billion-dollar enterprise, with the best overall patient care facility in the region, world-class research, and a medical school voted repeatedly by its graduates as the country s best. Onward and Upward offers insight into the reasons for that success. First, the administrative functions of the office were streamlined and brought under unified control. Second, Robinson developed a very strong working relationship built on mutual trust and fiscal responsibility with the University s Board of Trust and Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt. Third, the Medical Center became sufficiently solvent to allow significant resources to be used for recruitment and refurbishing. Fourth, Robinson emphasized the importance of philanthropy and developed a cordial and collegial relationship with the community and Vanderbilt alumni. Finally, Robinson undertook an aggressive building program, resulting in the completion of eight major buildings. There are only 125 academic medical centers in the United States; administrative leaders in these centers oversee the education and training of medical students and residents, manage the hospital and clinics in which faculty and staff provide the most sophisticated medical care in the world, and, notably, supervise laboratories in which billions are expended annually for medical research. Onward and Upward makes a unique contribution to the literature on these modern medical centers by describing in a chronological fashion the day-to-day life of a successful chief executive officer. This personalized account provides important information about Vanderbilt s Medical Center; it will be of interest to anyone considering a career in administration as well as those who
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